Monday, May 12, 2008

Laughter is the best medicine

I’m on a new mission this week to be very zen about things.
I’m trying, as the multitude of self help books on my shelves tell me to not sweat the small stuff, feel the fear and do it anyway and get the life I want, and want the life I have... or something.
After a week in the sun (which was deliciously relaxing) I came home determined to be an overall much calmer person.
If my computer crashes in work - which it does, a lot - I’ve vowed not to swear at the top of my lungs like a fishwife. If a bill lands in the door that I’ve not been expecting, I’ve vowed to take a deep breath and tell myself it will all be okay before going into an immediate panic attack about the credit crunch. (Am I the only person who hates the expression credit crunch? Makes me get all nervy and think we are heading for a 1930s style great depression where we all be forced to decamp to a shanty town on the old Fort George site and live on stale bread and cornflakes.)
I’ve also made a solemn vow to be more of a new-agey smiley happy mammy and try to adopt an altogether more relaxed attitude to parenting so that I’m again not doing my fishwife impression quite so often - regardless of how often I have to watch Fireman Sam or The Mr Men Show.
So far I’ve been doing okay - despite certain levels of severe provocation such as some wee so and so stealing the wing mirror off my car at the weekend, and my computer in work going into uber meltdown mode on Monday. (It didn’t want to work a Bank Holiday almost as much as I didn’t want to work a Bank Holiday).
But it hasn’t been easy. I’ve always been a little on the highly strung side. Now, I’m not an out and out public-display-of-hysteria kind of a gal but it’s a fair bet that on any given day there will generally be a wee bubble of anxiety clawing away in my stomach over anything and everything. I am the Queen of free floating anxiety and, having had a chance to step back from it while on holiday, I realised just how unhealthy it is to feel that way for the lion share of your waking hours. (Generally I sleep okay, which is a blessing, but given that I can’t sleep 24 hours a day and still lead any sort of productive life, we’ll rule that out from the start).
Now I’m very lucky in that in recent months and years I’ve met some lovely people who seem to have a delightfully calming effect on me. They listen when I ramble insanely about my latest worry and don’t laugh at how seemingly inconsequential they are. But more than offering a listening ear, they also offer support and practical advice to get my through the day. And it works. The mantras, the breathing techniques and the B vitamins are becoming my best friends.
But what works above all that is having a good old laugh - and my friends can dole those out in spades. There’s no doubt that life generally has got busier and more stressful. It seems that people are working harder and longer to make ends meet and I’ve no doubt that there is an extra pressure on people to have it all - regardless of whether or not they can afford it.
The rising costs of everything from petrol, to home heating oil to food, to clothes to mortgages is a killer. Between tighter profit margins in the workplace, increased reports (on an almost daily basis it seems) that almost everything you will ever do in your whole life is likely to cause you an early death/ cause your children to be obese or contribute to a global warming catastrophe, it’s hard not to feel a little down from time to time. (Especially if like me, worry is your middle name).
It feels to me that people have generally forgotten how to relax and appreciate the small things in life. We’ve forgotten how to have craic and laugh at stupid things. People generally seem grumpier and less friendly and it is hard to make new friends - especially when you’re a grown up with children and a limited (read that as non-existant) social life. It’s very easy to fall into a pattern where you have a good moan rather than a giggle and I’ll readily put my hand up and admit that I have a tendency towards the whiney - but there is no doubt in my mind at all that it’s something that can be changed.
My very best friend in the whole world is a great one for letting me cry on her shoulder - and I return the favour when necessary - but her overall philosophy in life is that a belly laugh beats a good cry any day of the week. So I’m going to try and laugh a little more, keep taking my B-vitamins and saying my silly little mantras until I’m laughing more and gurning less. There will always be things to worry about - but I think it’s someone else’s turn now. I’ve done my bit.

1 comment:

Fionnuala said...

I love the sound of the new you. I loved the old you so dont change too much! I heard a great saying this week and I have now typed it out and stuck it on the wall where I write.

"If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got"

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